DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work in a middle management position in a company that employs between 2,000 and 3,000 employees. Employees cannot receive calls while on duty unless it is an emergency. However, we will take messages.
Frequently, I receive calls informing me "Please hold the line for an important call." When a live person does come on the line it is always to inquire if an employee of my department is there. The company responsible for making the call always declines to leave a message.
I have been told that these are credit card company collection departments calling about late or missed payments. This really does not concern me in any way and is a valid reason to want to contact someone. But I am incensed by the conduct of placing a call and then essentially putting the answering party on hold! I am not the one making a request; I am the one answering a request, and then I am being treated rudely for my trouble.
I have seen no choice but to start hanging up on any recorded spiel that greets me when I answer the phone. I would like your support in this matter if you deem it appropriate and also the support of your readers. Maybe this practice will be abolished if the companies that employ it can no longer contact a person who will politely answer the phone willing to help, only to be put on hold for their convenience.
GENTLE READER: You have Miss Manners' blessing. People who are not ready to talk on the telephone should refrain from making telephone calls. The only exception she can imagine is if the caller is so overwhelmingly important that it is tactful to supply time for the receiver of the call to shout out, "I can't believe it! The Dalai Lama is calling me!"
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have several nieces and nephews, and each time they graduated from high school and college and later married, I sent a lovely card and gift. I truly was proud of them and wished them well -- no extortion was involved.
When my son graduated from high school, some sent cards and a present: one sent a card, two sent nothing. This May, he graduates from a military academy and my daughter graduates a week later from high school. I felt very badly for my son when relatives did not acknowledge his accomplishments and congratulate him. I am afraid that it is going to happen again, to both of them.
I feel justifiably peeved and hurt about the actions of some of my relatives. I know that they know better and were raised to be gracious and sensitive. I also feel abused and taken advantage of as if they were saying, "We got ours, but yours get none!" What does one do in this instance?
GENTLE READER: Do? Are you thinking of something in the way of antagonizing your relatives and embarrassing your children by demanding issuing reprimands and making demands?
Miss Manners appreciates the desire of parents to make the world be good to their children, but she is afraid that they cannot step outside the bounds of politeness to do so. Retaliating, or even allowing your children to see your disappointment, will only make them feel pitiful, and you seem to be someone whose affection was offered only as an investment.